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[uhn-hel-thee] /ʌnˈhɛl θi/
adjective, unhealthier, unhealthiest.
not in a state of good or normal health; in an unsound, weak, or morbid condition.
symptomatic of or resulting from bad health:
an unhealthy pallor.
not conducive to good health; unhealthful:
Night air was formerly considered unhealthy.
morally bad, harmful, or contaminating:
unhealthy examples for the young.
dangerous; risky:
Asking questions in this neighborhood can be unhealthy.
Origin of unhealthy
1585-95; un-1 + healthy
Related forms
unhealthily, adverb
unhealthiness, noun
1. sickly. 3. unhygienic, deleterious. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for unhealthy
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It consists of two unequal portions, an extensive dry steppe with a healthy desert climate, and an unhealthy region of swamps.

  • Lorilleux, annoyed at not having any fat himself, said that it was soft and unhealthy.

    L'Assommoir Emile Zola
  • But it was an unhealthy occupation, and probably contributed to his death by consumption.

    History of Modern Philosophy Alfred William Benn
  • I was just making conversation, to get his mind out of its unhealthy channel.

    The Terror from the Depths Sewell Peaslee Wright
  • The location is swampy and unhealthy, and our men are dying at the rate of two or three a day.

    The Black Phalanx Joseph T. Wilson
British Dictionary definitions for unhealthy


adjective -healthier, -healthiest
characterized by ill-health; sick; unwell
characteristic of, conducive to, or resulting from ill-health: an unhealthy complexion, an unhealthy atmosphere
morbid or unwholesome
(informal) dangerous; risky
Derived Forms
unhealthily, adverb
unhealthiness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for unhealthy

1590s, "injurious to health," from un- (1) "not" + healthy. Earlier unhealthsome (1540s), unhealthful (1570s). Of persons, "sickly," it is attested from 1610s. Related: Unhealthily.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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